Richard Johnson receives high remarks from Jesse Hart, a veteran boxer nearly twice his age. Despite only being 16, Hart believes Johnson has the potential to be a better boxer than him.
He just has to keep working,” said Hart, a light heavyweight with a 26-3 record. “The kid’s got it.”
Johnson already has the work ethic of a champion. He trains six days a week, Monday through Saturday at ABC gym. He and his trainer, Fred Jenkins train in the evenings, Johnson’s preferred training time.
I’m like, ‘Yo, I just got off work,’ ” Jenkins said. “I’ll go pick him up, or him and his brother to run.”
Johnson and Jenkins’ First Encounter
Jenkins recounts observing Johnson box for the first time three years ago at a Golden Gloves event in Philly. The trainer wrapped Johnson’s hands. Although the teen had little to say, he got busy in the ring.
“I watched him fight, and I’m like, ‘Who is he?’ ” Jenkins said. “I’ve been around boxing since I was a little boy. Me seeing him kind of like wowed me.”
The Birth of An Inseparable Bond
Johnson’s mother brought him to the ABC gym following the Golden Gloves event in search of a coach. As Jenkins prepared to lock up the gym, the two walked in. Without much lighting, it was hard for Jenkins to recognize Johnson at first.
Every since then, we’ve been stuck like glue,” Jenkins said. “We’re always together.”
Preparing for Pre-Olympic Competition
Recently, Jenkins took the skilled boxer to Lubbock, Texas for the 2021 National Junior Olympics. There Johnson walked away with a bronze medal. Most importantly, he can take his impressive performance and only get better.
“Nobody likes losing, but I really don’t like losing,” Johnson said.
“No one knows that feeling when you suffer a defeat in front of your family,” Jenkins said. “That’s almost like getting embarrassed.”
Amateur boxers need to watch out for Richard Johnson. He is determined to keep winning and become a professional boxer.